Planned Parenthood will go to trial as Texas has accused the organization of defrauding the state's Medicaid health insurance program, a federal judge ruled Monday.
Texas has accused Planned Parenthood of obtaining funds from the state and failing to repay them after it terminated the organization as a provider under its Medicaid insurance programs for low-income people. While both sides favored a ruling without going to trial, U.S. District Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk, in Amarillo, decided not to rule on the case but instead scheduled a trial to begin in April.
According to Reuters, now-sealed court documents show the judge ruled against Planned Parenthood in the case, saying the organization is obligated to return some funds to Texas and to Louisiana, which did not join the case.
Kacsmaryk, a conservative judge appointed to the bench by former President Donald Trump, did not rule on exactly how much Planned Parenthood must repay, or if the company intentionally violated the law.
Planned Parenthood has said the case, which stems from an undercover video released eight years ago that prompted Texas and Louisiana to take action against the organization, could cost the company a whopping $1.8 billion and threaten its ability to operate in Texas.
The undercover video footage released in 2015 from inside a Planned Parenthood clinic purported to show staff discussing the sale of fetal tissue. Planned Parenthood has discredited the videos and denied wrongdoing.
However, those videos led the two states to announce later in the year that they would terminate Planned Parenthood as a provider covered by their Medicaid programs.
Federal court orders temporarily stopped them from finalizing the terminations, but the orders were later lifted on appeal, allowing Texas to end its contract with Planned Parenthood in 2021 and Louisiana in 2022.
Both states accuse Planned Parenthood of defrauding the states by continuing to bill and collect payments from their Medicaid programs after the initial termination decisions, and failing to repay what it received after the terminations – both states kicking the organization off the Medicaid insurance program – were finally allowed to take effect.
Planned Parenthood has said there was nothing illegal about billing the states while their termination decisions were paused by court orders and that it cannot be held liable because the states never asked for the money to be repaid.
Kacsmaryk said Monday that Planned Parenthood is obligated to return the money it had received once appeals courts allowed the terminations to become final.
Texas banned nearly all abortions following the Supreme Court's 2022 decision overturning the 1973 case that first legalized abortion nationwide, Roe v. Wade.
Reuters contributed to this report.